Freight Tech Innovations Supply Chains Should Employ
The freight and logistics industry is ever-evolving, with new freight tech innovations and systems being routinely implemented by companies looking to gain maximum efficiency. Streamlining and maximizing the supply chain is heavily-dependent upon technological solutions. Luckily, there are freight tech companies developing solutions for every step in the process.
In fact, Redwood Logistics has its own proprietary TMS platform, RedwoodConnect 2.0 for this reason. With this custom solution, we are better equipped to help our clients achieve full connectivity across all of their operations and provide visibility that may not have been there before. Want to see how we do it? Contact us here to schedule your free consultation.
Use of data and how it’s acquired, systems to simplify or speed up the supply chain processes, monitors and SaaS models… which freight tech innovations have the broadest appeal, and should be employed by just about any supply chain?
The concept of automation can make some nervous, in particular, due to the implication that automation requires the shedding of employees, but that simply isn’t the case.
Automation has a broad range of benefits and uses perfectly suited to the supply chain. From automated micro-fulfillment centers that grant faster access to customers in densely populated urban areas to “cobots”- collaborative robots that assist warehouse workers with tedious, repetitive tasks, automation can augment the capabilities of employees in the supply chain rather than replace them completely.
Automation is also ideal in picking and stowing freight scenarios, and systems also benefit from automation in inspection stations.
Internet of Things Utilization (IoT)
IoT forms a network of devices, vehicles, and appliances that can actively share data. For example, networks of sensors mounted throughout a truck can monitor everything from temperature changes in refrigeration right down to the tire pressure on the truck.
The sensors and other IoT devices can provide real-time data on the conditions of shipments, including humidity levels, up-to-the-minute location, and other areas of concern for shipments that require special handling. This technology has proven particularly beneficial for companies moving produce and other grocery loads, as well as other temperature-sensitive freight.
Monitoring the freight itself isn’t the only benefit, however. Data logging in trucks, for example, can alert companies to inefficient routes, monitor engine, and equipment issues for maintenance purposes, and even identify problematic driving habits. All of these uses improve efficiency, response, and save on costs.
It’s all logistics: exact information on the location and real-time data analysis can revolutionize the supply chain.
Cloud computing or SaaS (Software as a Service) models are rapidly being adopted by the majority of the industry.
Cloud-based software services for logistics provide on-demand self-service, rapid elasticity, allow processes to run faster, increase visibility and responsiveness, and provide improved manageability with less maintenance. It’s no wonder then, that they are a key innovation and component in any supply chain.
In addition, cloud-based technologies allow companies to better manage their in-house resources, putting more focus on daily functions, building and increasing business, and more self-beneficial tasks, rather than spending time building IT systems and updating software.
When supply chains use cloud-based software services for logistics operations, they ensure that operators always have the latest security patches and features.
Distributed Inventory and Predictive Shipping
Predictive analytics is the modern answer to demand forecasting. It uses data from a wide variety of sources, leveraging millions of data points within the supply chain to improve the efficiency of the entire operation. Many of the world’s biggest companies are integrating tech-driven and data-backed solutions to streamline their operations and ensure the best possible results. Data-driven decision making is essential to supply chain activities.
High-quality data and utilization of predictive analytics can allow companies to forecast highly accurate outlooks for shipping volumes and to optimize proactively- couple this with distributed inventory and companies are able to rapidly respond to real-time demand. Using the data to help plan where in the world or country key merchandise is staged, which freight companies receive shipments, and when to direct inventory to micro-fulfillment centers, an entire supply chain can remain prepped and ready to respond to any and all developments.
The “Sharing Model”
The sharing economy has extended beyond its reach in other industries and made its way into freight and logistics in the form of companies like Flexport, Hub Group, and the Uber Technologies foray Uber Freight. These companies, along with freight brokerages and forwarding services, are demonstrating that the same sharing app technologies can be applied to the supply chain.
Essentially, these high-tech brokers are utilizing digital platforms to connect those in need of freight services, like forwarding or splitting shipments, with vendors that have available space and means. The benefits in this scenario are simple: a potential for lower costs with faster and more efficient handling, and consolidated shipments meaning an improvement in emissions footprints.
All of these freight tech innovations have compounded potential when adopted as a whole. Each system integrates with the other seamlessly to create a supply chain with more flexibility, better visibility, up-to-the-minute responsiveness, improved accuracy, and lower costs.
This is especially true when you connect all of your disparate systems together using a system like RedwoodConnect 2.0.